Marinades and rubs are an excellent way to enhance your protein and veggies, making them juicy and flavorful additions to your backyard barbecue or everyday alfresco dining. Unfortunately, many pre-made marinades and rubs that line the shelves of conventional grocery stores contain gluten and are high in sodium and sugar. Familiarize yourself with both of these types of flavor enhancers and learn how to make your own healthy and delicious versions.

Marinades are flavor-infused liquids that combine acids, like lemon juice, wine or vinegar, with herbs, spices and oils. They infuse flavor into everything from eggplant to tri-tip, and are particularly effective at tenderizing tough cuts of meat.

Keep in mind that different foods have different suggested marinade times. Fish shouldn’t be marinated for more than 30 minutes, and veggies usually require anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Chicken often needs about an hour to marinate, and beef, pork, tofu and tempeh can be marinated for several hours or overnight for optimum flavor.

Alternatively, rubs are spice blends that are patted on meat or vegetables prior to grilling. They often add a smoky or spicy flavor to your meal, but they don’t tenderize like a marinade does. To apply, gently pat onto your protein or vegetables to form a coating. You can either grill immediately or let sit for a while to maximize flavor.

Spicely Organics offers a wide variety of salt and sugar-free seasoning blends that can be used as rubs or mixed with liquid for a marinade that’s a cinch to pull together. However, making your own rubs and marinades allows you even more control over flavor and heat and allow you to get creative by adding other ingredients like tea or coffee.

Check out some of our favorite rub and marinade recipes to hit the grill running:


Herbed Marinade

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp minced shallots

1 tsp organic rosemary

2 tsp organic thyme

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp organic black pepper, ground

Recommended for chicken or vegetables.

Green Tea Citrus Marinade

2 cups brewed Organic Green Citrus Tea

1 small onion, chopped

juice of 1 small orange

3 tbsp olive oil

Recommended for shrimp or chicken.

Blackened Marinade

⅓ cup tamari or gluten-free soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp organic blackened seasoning

Recommended for tofu, tempeh or salmon.

Indian Marinade

1 tbsp organic garam masala seasoning

½ tbsp organic paprika

1 tsp organic cumin, ground

½ tsp organic turmeric

¼ tsp organic cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ½ tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

Recommended for chicken or vegetables.


Smoky Tea Rub

2 tbsp organic Lapsang Souchong tea leaves, ground

1 tsp organic Chinese five spice seasoning

1 tsp organic garlic, granulated

½ tsp organic cayenne pepper

Recommended for steak or salmon.

Sweet & Spicy Rub

1 ½ tbsp light brown sugar, packed

1 tbsp organic chili powder

1 tsp organic cumin, ground

⅛ tsp organic black pepper, ground

Recommended for salmon or ribs.

Herb Rub

1 tbsp chopped garlic

2 tsp organic fennel, ground

1 tsp organic sage

1 tsp organic rosemary

2 tsp organic black pepper, ground

Recommended for pork.

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